Monday, September 17, 2007

Lorne Michaels' Total Victory Over Aaron Sorkin

(image via newyorksocialdiary)

In the world of television it is best not to bet against SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels. 30 Rock's Emmy victory cements Lorne Michaels' total victory over the witty but Aaron Sorkin as well as his rib-busting ox-strength at NBC. Sorkin, whose now-cancelled Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip, ruffled some feather where Michaels and Tina Fey *allegedly* were upset that a show clearly based on SNL was being greenlighted by the GE network. Both shows based on the same milieu on the same network? Then, as James Poniewozick wrote in Time, "Fey's sitcom was in the works when Sorkin asked to tour the SNL set for research."

Clearly there was competition between the two shows. For Poniewozick's article, the producers of Studio 60 refused to be interviewed because NBC didn't want any comparisons to be made of the shoew (the basis for the article). From Tad Friend of The New Yorker:

"At 'Saturday Night Live,' when two writers come up with the same sketch idea—Hey, we should do Dick Cheney shooting his buddy in the face!—the sketches are said to be 'bumping' to get on the air: usually, only one succeeds. Now two promising TV pilots loosely inspired by the backstage goings on at 'S.N.L.' are themselves bumping to get on NBC’s fall schedule.

"...Lorne Michaels, the longtime executive producer of 'S.N.L.,' is also an executive producer of Fey’s pilot. When Sorkin asked Michaels to permit him to observe 'S.N.L.' for a week, Michaels, protecting his turf, declined."

Flush with victory, from Rush and Molloy:

"'[Winning] could absolutely make a difference,' agreed producer Lorne Michaels, who was huddled with NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman, the guy who does the network's plug-pulling. 'I don't know if an Emmy gives a TV show the boost an Oscar gives a movie,' he told us. 'It didn't help Arrested Development. It did help The Office. I think it could help 30 Rock."

You do your thing, Lorne Michaels (Whose next thing, apparently, is a live stage show for Vegas).

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